The Green Gap

In the Cold War, we feared a Missile Gap was a strategic weakness. Nowadays, we must awaken to the fact that the Green Gap is true strategic weakness: the nations whose economies will thrive in the coming years will not be those with the biggest factories, but those with the most sustainable, efficient, and ecological markets. What we require is a Strategic "Green Reserve" of ecological design to weather the coming changes that both climate and resource scarcity will force on the international economy.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

BioChar and Terra Preta


This has got me excited.

The problem is that I notice there are actually too many technologies now that can take food and farm waste and convert them into something useful. I worry that there will be too much competition in future for these useful byproducts, leaving people begging for food scraps to power their pet waste recycling system. I suppose it would be useful to have edible scraps digested by Black Soldier Fly, inedibles turned into BioChar, urine cycled into an algaculture apparatus, and fecal matter run through an anaerobic digester before being added to a bioremediation system. There is no end to the possibilities, and all of these business opportunities not only sequester carbon but improve soil quality and produce food...


Creating Biochar, Farming Algae; A dynamic duo that combined gives a superior growth media for plants.

Looks like a good and simple way of making algae.

Efficiency could cut world energy use over 70 per cent - tech - 26 January 2011 - New Scientist

Efficiency could cut world energy use over 70 per cent - tech - 26 January 2011 - New Scientist

Saturday, 29 January 2011

I have decided that aquaponics is just kinda dumbed down bioremediation. That is sad, because I'm a huge fan of aquaponics, but the truth is too plain to see. Why would someone make a two-cell system that requires constant fish feed inputs when they can design a system that feeds the fish by itself? Aquaponics people have been thinking for a while about raising their own fish food, I must admit. Two great ideas proposed by Murray Hallam include Black Soldier Fly larvae:
Murray Hallam Black Soldier Fly larva (YouTube)
The company that made his BioPod is found here:

Hallam has also proposed duckweed:
Murray Hallam's duckweed

These are great ideas, and the studies on how good these two system elements are at converting waste products into protein and lipids are superb arguments for their inclusion in aquaponic systems. Sadly they are elements extraneous to the system as neither is directly integrated into the system. Black soldier fly and duckweed are considered supplements rather than food, and the main food given to fish in these systems is commercial fish feed. A large component of this fish feed is antarctic krill, which is being overharvested. In the final analysis, aquaponics is still an unsustainable system unless it can phase out fish feed. Given that black soldier fly larvae have a similar if not better nutritional profile than most fish feed, and duckweed and other vegetables can pick up the slack in other nutrients, it's a wonder why these elements aren't made integral to the aquaponics system.